Darkness, shade, light and shadow are fundamental to every aspect of human life, yet are frequently overlooked in archaeological research. This contribution seeks to explore how past human sensory experiences may have been affected by the phenomena of light and darkness and how these may have been manipulated to fulfil particular practical, ritual or symbolic purposes. The role of the archaeologist in attempting to capture how buildings, structures, archaeological sites and artefacts are experienced based on varying levels of luminosity or when submerged in darkness is also examined.